This happened today morning. Rekha and I got up at 6 a.m. Getting up together is a relatively new habit. There used to be a time when Rekha would get up at 5.30 a.m., take bath, pray and with water dripping from her tied-in-a-turban-on-top-of-her-head hair, she would touch my lotus feet for blessings before bringing me a cup of hot tea.
I would have tea, read newspaper and go for a hot water bath. Meanwhile, Rekha will leave for the kitchen to prepare breakfast.
Anyways, these are things we can discuss anytime of the week. Today we are here to discuss the war games we play when the weather is good. I think it was Saturday evening and it had just started drizzling.
“Rekha, how about a ride in the rain. Long time since we did anything like that.”
“Sure, I don`t mind but you might get a cold.”
(What she actually meant was, she could get a cold and she can`t afford it because she has to attend Sheela`s son`s birthday party on Sunday)
“You are right. Before marriage when you were more romantic… I always got a cold after the rain ride.” I get sarcastic.
“Don`t get me started. You were a lot younger then…and healthy.” Rekha retorts.
“Must be the marriage huh?”
“Don`t you get started on my cooking now? I am doing whatever is within my limits to keep you happy. Look at that paunch you have developed since marriage.”
I am a man of honour. I can take blows on my face and yet be standing tall. But I cannot digest anybody pointing out that I have a paunch. I might have one…but I won`t accept it. The last guy who said that had a paunch was admitted in the Emergency ward of Apollo Hospitals. I had bit his tongue. Even today I think that all those who have potbellies should be shot in the head.
“Rekha I have a paunch because of your cooking.”
“See, I told you … I was cooking good food.”
“Before you came into my life…I was having food cooked by my mother and hence did not have a paunch. But since your arrival, I have been eating out in various restaurants…and you know oily stuff these restaurants serve…. gives you a paunch. There you go…”
Rekha gets angry. After all she is entitled to. In fact she is the only one who is entitled to.
Since I cannot get angry in front of her…I take my Yamaha keys, my wallet and my cap and go out in the rain. After a sulking smoke and a sullen ride in the rain…I have cooled down (she did say I will catch a cold). When I go home, Rekha is on the phone speaking to her best friend. She has a filter coffee in one hand…and the TV remote in the other.
Signs of good weather…